On one side a section entitled Wrapped Forms and on the other its opposite, Exploring Volume: in the middle of sixty Azzedine Alaja creations – some of which unpublished – on display for the first time in the UK . Curated by Mark Wilson together with the Tunisian designer before his death on November 18, the exhibition entitled “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” tells the uniqueness of a revolutionary genius, able to rebel against the frenetic rhythms of the fashion world, engaged in a constant and obsessive search for the “new”. A pressure to which the famous “couturier” has always escaped, presenting his leaders not when the calendar of the shows imposed him but when they were really ready to be shown.
Inside the exhibition area of the Design Museum in London we move smoothly between the two extremes, Wrapped Forms and Exploring Volume, revolving around the Black Silhouette dresses, admiring the Renaissance perspective creations, the Timelessness garments, dazzled by the colors of Spanish accent and fascinated by the influence of distant worlds that characterizes Other places other cultures.
These are the sections that group the exhibited works and reflect “the themes that Alaïa has studied throughout her life”, as explained by Gemma Curtin, curator of the museum. An alternative to the chronological classification desired by Wilson himself, to celebrate “timeless works“. Young designers have created new architectural elements playing with surfaces and different depths, giving rise to unusual backdrop for the designer’s works. We move from the wrap-around clothes of the nineties but still very current, looking for the volumes that the famous designer has carried out until the last days of his life, when he was finishing some clothes created specifically for this exhibition and never seen before. And then again the use of materials, from leather to chiffon or velvet, his love for ancient cultures and the inspiration of Africa, the boundless continent that saw him born, in Tunis, on February 26, 1940.
A timeline of iconic images marks the highlights of Alaïa’s career, from the first experiences in Christian Dior in Paris in the late fifties, to the friendship with Franca and Carla Sozzani, from the look of Grace Jones in the movie A View to a Kill to the tie with one of his muses, Naomi Campbell, who marched for him for the first time at age 16. The exhibition celebrates the creativity of Azzedine Alaïa, honest towards her own inspiration and towards the woman’s body, celebrated and never overshadowed by her works. A free artist, as you remember at the entrance to the exhibition the quote that welcomes visitors: “I always feel free. I do not make it ». The exhibition will be open until October 7th.